Don't want to be part of the crowd?
Our personalized tours are for people who get a thrill out of seeing what other travelers don't see. We'll take you to hidden treasures where other travelers don't go, or sometimes places that even the Romans don't know. Book a personalized tour with us and sometimes secret doors swing open... and you'll be the only people there.
Add some of these hidden treasures to your itinerary for a trip you'll truly remember. You can tell us which ones you'd like to include in your itinerary, or ask us for recommendations to suit you.
If you don't want to decide now, then add an extra hour or two to your tour and you can trust us to impress you with some memorable secret-rome spots during your tour. With just a little extra time you can go off piste to walk through the remains of a luxurious ancient mansion still buried beneath the city, have a quick coffee overlooking the city in a stunning Renaissance mansion, walk the ramparts of Rome's ancient city walls, or duck into the dark between a pair of stone columns to discover some mind-boggling art.
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Through the ages, Rome's powerful families demonstrated their prestige through sumptuous mansions and astounding art collections. Perhaps the most famous—and definitely one of the most opulent—is the Borghese Gallery, built 400 years ago by the ruthless art collector cardinal Scipione Borghese. Admire the lifelike and moving sculptures of Bernini alongside paintings by Raphael, Titian and more, in this luxurious pleasure palace.
Antica Farmacia della Scala
A time-capsule from the Renaissance is tucked, hidden, in the Trastevere neighborhood. This beautiful and fascinating decommissioned pharmacy, one of the oldest in Europe, is sealed into a still-active monastery where, until the 20th century, it provided potions, herbs, unguents and balms to heal Italy's kings, nobles and popes. Visits last half an hour to an hour and advance reservations are required.
De Chirico House
The Michelangelo of the 20th century. The most influential Italian artist of the last century was Dali before Dali and Magritte before Magritte, and of course he lived in Rome. This is a chance to explore a truly hidden gem and learn about the enigmatic Giorgio de Chirico. His house near the Spanish Steps is stuffed to the gills with his fascinating paintings and sculptures, along with his fully recreated artist’s studio and gorgeous period furnishings. Visits last about an hour and advance reservations are required.
The Pope's Artists
There are still artists at the Vatican working directly for the pope. One of the most enduring art forms in Rome is the art of mosaic and here you can see these prestigious artists at work in their studio near the current papal residence within the wall of the Vatican. This mosaic studio has been active for nearly 500 years and has always required precision, dedication and beauty from its artists.
The most beautiful cemetery in the world is, of course, in Rome. It is hidden behind an unassuming wall, but stroll through the gates and between the ancient trees and flowers you'll discover funerary monuments of fallen angels, sleeping beauties, miniature cathedrals, and Roman ruins. The stories of illustrious lives are waiting in Italy's VIP cemetery, where not only locals but many foreigners were buried here (like the great English poet Keats) who left us a poem carved in stone.
A temple of wisdom. Step into a different kind of holy space: a 17th century “cathedral” of ancient leather bound books and curling parchment manuscripts stacked to the ceiling in a historic 17th century library hidden right in the city center. This public library is the oldest in Rome and contains ancient maps that bear little resemblance to ours today and manuscripts from before the invention of the printing press. You can come here to study or stop in with us to see this remarkable place and hear its story.
San Carlino and Sant'Andrea
Rival architects. Rome was abuzz with the rivalry between two artists in the mid-1600s: the gregarious and dramatic Bernini and the withdrawn, complicated genius of Borromini. Nowhere is this more evident than on the Quirinal Hill where the architects built two churches side by side revealing their very different view on what architecture could accomplish. While many Baroque churches in the city are an explosion of gold and multi-colored marbles, Borromini’s architecture is a lyrical meditation in stone that reinterpreted the definition of a holy space.
San Francesco a Ripa
Duck into this hidden church to see one of the most theatrical (and sensual) sculptures in the city sculpted by the master himself, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The Renaissance noblewoman-turned-nun serving the poor in Rome’s Trastevere neighborhood, Ludovica Albertoni, would never have imagined the funeral monument sculpted in her honor a hundred years after her death by Rome's 17th century master of marble. At certain times we can also take you upstairs to visit the room where Saint Francis slept during his pivotal visit to Rome 800 years ago.
Pilgrimage and Relics
Some of Rome's most fascinating religious sites are clustered around the original papal palace. Away from the modern crowds these ancient and solemn spaces have been visited by pilgrims for millennia in part because they are a treasure trove of relics of saints and objects from the Passion of Christ. When visiting this sacred corner of the Eternal City, you should choose among Santa Croce in Gerusalemme (built by Saint Helena at her Rome residence), San Giovanni in Laterano (the cathedral of Rome), Santa Prassede (to see Christian art from the Dark Ages), Rome's original Baptistry, and the Scala Santa where modern day pilgrims still ascend the sacred stairs on their knees.
Once one of Rome’s poorest neighborhoods, Trastevere is now chock full of history, off-the-beaten track artistic masterpieces, and all the winding alleyways and ivy-covered shops of your dreams. Cross the Tiber Island to discover Bernini statues, ancient golden mosaics, frescoes by Raphael in the Villa Farnesina (the Renaissance mansion of the Pope’s banker)... not to mention sampling some of the best food in town. Then stroll up the Gianicolo Hill to see the majestic ancient fountain featured in Sorrentino’s film the Great Beauty and a breathtaking view over the entire city.
Rome’s northern-most “Tridente” neighborhood is one of the best windows onto the dizzying history of a city populated for nearly 3,000 years. Enter the city though the main city gates and enjoy the stunning piazzas, spectacular architecture, and glamor of this famous side of Rome. Take a stroll along Rome’s most picturesque street, devoted to artists since the 17th century. Climb the famous Spanish Steps, and discover monuments to the emperor Augustus from the 1st century BC.
The oldest public art collection in the world, the Capitoline is without a doubt one of the best places to discover the fascination of ancient art... and without the crowds! Add a short visit to see truly iconic ancient masterpieces. There are also spectacular views of the Roman Forum, as well as Michelangelo's architectural masterpiece: the Campidoglio Square.
An opulent mansion. This lavish residence is a stunning view into one of the most storied families in Italy (who still live here) with eight hundred years of history. An un-missable and un-forgettable treasure trove from the marble floors and frescoes, to gilded walls and paintings by Carracci and Bronzino. Expect stories of passion, wars and scandal. Visits last about an hour and advance reservations are required.
Italy's biggest mansion. The home of 17th century princes, a visit to the Galleria Pamphilj today takes you back in time as you walk through the lavish apartments of one of Rome’s leading families and their truly staggering art collection. You’ll be dazzled by gilded mirrors and frescoed ceilings and the walls are hardly visible for the paintings (but if you know where to look you’ll find Caravaggio and Velazquez beneath the crystal chandeliers). Expect great stories both of the artists and of the family that still lives here.
Ara Pacis Augustae
A monument to greatness. Unearthed and beautifully displayed, this enormous two thousand year old Roman altar is an amazing chance to imagine Rome as it was in the time of its first emperor. You can stand where the ancient Roman priests stood and learn the messages hidden in the the altar's beautiful decorations. Hear about the illustrious ancient emperor Augustus and what Mussolini imagined when this monument from the past was brought to light.
The iconic Roman aqueducts were miracles of civil engineering, bringing enormous quantities of water from miles out in the countryside, fueling the growth of the metropolis. If you know where to look, you can catch a glimpse of a few of these ruins in the city center or get the best view by heading out to the “aqueduct park” during a tour to the catacombs or to Tivoli.
Rome's own Pompeii is just 45 minutes from the city center. Immerse yourself in the daily life of the ancient port city as you stroll the roads, explore shops and houses decorated with beautiful mosaics and get a view over the ruins from the top of the amphitheater. An easy day trip from Rome and great for kids who want to run around!
A labyrinth of underground tunnels, cryptic ancient symbols, and centuries of history await you in the ancient catacombs. Today the shadowy burial places of Rome's early Christians bring you closer to the persecuted group of outsiders who became the masters of the city for centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire. This tour is a wonderful adventure and since the tunnels are large and frequently open into wide chambers, claustrophobia is almost never an issue.
Basilica of San Clemente
Discover what lies beneath Rome's modern city streets as you tunnel back in time through literal layers of the city's history, from an exquisitely decorated medieval structure to the remains of one of Rome's early churches below and still further down to discover surprises from the first and second centuries AD, the peak of the Roman Empire. A true portal to the past, there's no place like Rome where one address can let you walk through twenty centuries of history.
The church of bones. Thousands of deceased Capuchin friars and many others are made immortal in a crypt entirely decorated with human remains. When the Capuchins moved to their new church in the 17th century they brought the bones of their deceased brothers with them from the old monastery. Bones form patterns, symbols and even entire skeletons in what must be one of the most unique mediations on life and death that Rome has to offer. These hidden chambers with names like the Crypt of the Skulls or the Crypt of the Leg Bones are haunting, macabre, most certainly definitely memorable.